Kim & Matt
Whispering Pines Conference Center in West Greenwich, Rhode Island
August 27th, 2016
One of my favorite parts about being a wedding photographer is getting to know a bride before her big day.
And, thanks to the magic of social media, whenever I feel like I have more than just a typical "client-vendor" relationship with a couple, usually after a fun initial consultation or engagement session, I'll friend request them and keep up with their wedding planning as the big day approaches. This helps in a myriad of ways as we're both able to bounce ideas off one another and I'm around to answer any questions the couple may have in terms of putting together certain photos or planning a timeline for the event.
More importantly, though, it gives me a chance to see their excitement build as the wedding gets closer and for that I'm always grateful.
For Kim and Matt, that excitement was palpable long before their August wedding at the Whispering Pines Conference Center in West Greenwich, Rhode Island and as the day drew near, I was beginning to feel just as nervous as they were that everything would go as planned.
Thankfully, it didn't take long for me to see why I liked these two so much as they had, by far, one of the most fun and relaxed weddings I've ever been to. And for a couple that waited FOURTEEN years for this moment, it lived up to and exceeded all of the hype.
Long before we capped the night with sparkler fireworks, this was one I knew I'd remember for a long, long time.
For Kim and Matt's big day, my coverage began as it almost always does with an informal bridal prep session.
Kim is a pretty laid back person and, as such, I didn't expect anything grand or overdone in terms of her hair and makeup process and it was exactly what I thought it would be: a few hours of watching her hang out with her friends and casually get ready.
And because she was getting ready on site, and everything was centrally located at one location, there was no pressure to rush to a church or hurry up and hit the road. Kim took her time getting ready and stayed in great spirits as the hours ticked by and the big moment approached.
That is, at least until it was time for official first looks with her dad and with her soon-to-be husband.
I can not state this enough: I LOVE when a couple chooses to do a first look. I know there is no substitute to that big moment when a bride comes down the aisle for the first time but, to me, first looks make a wedding day go so much easier.
Not only does a good first look really kick start the day in a beautiful way but, much like it did for Kim and Matt, having an official and private unveiling removed any tension or stress from the day and let this bride and groom focus strictly on each other.
And if that wasn't enough to lighten the mood, the giant bug who insisted on attacking me during their formal photos did wonders for our attitudes and made the entire affair, which could have been stuffy and uncomfortable, really fun and hilarious.
Kim and Matt could not have picked a better day for their wedding if they tried. Now, I've been to Whispering Pines in the summer and it is not a forgiving campus if you end up with a hot day. Though it's by the water, you won't find much relief if the temperature rises and the sun beats down on you.
Thankfully, though, the weather was absolutely picture perfect. For formal photos, we had cloud cover so no one had to deal with staring at the sun and when the ceremony started, we got just enough sunlight to show off the beauty of this wonderful location and amazing couple.
Kim and Matt had a fantastic ceremony that really fit them perfectly.
While some couples tend to stick to the tried-and-true beats of an outdoor ceremony, Kim and Matt let their personalities shine through in this one so whether it was Matt making funny faces as the flower girl and ring bearer walked down the aisle, Kim cracking jokes as she put Matt's ring on his finger or the two pumping their hands when they were officially husband and wife, every part of this ceremony was a joy to watch.
And that's only fitting because, thanks to the generous schedule that gave us over 40 minutes for photos, it paved the way for a formal photo session that was without a doubt one of the most fun and scenic of my career.
Seriously. I could not have asked for a better time taking Kim and Matt's formal photos.
We had a blast driving around the URI Alton Jones campus and through some of the back roads in West Greenwich.
And whether it was telling them to walk in a patch of trees or asking the groom to sit on a shady-looking fence that (maybe) wasn't as strong as it could have been, Kim and Matt were open to any ideas I had and it paid off with a variety of fun and creative shots.
By far my favorite moment of the wedding, though, was still to come as by the time we got back, Kim and Matt were in great spirits from the fun photo session and ready to rock out during their reception.
And I knew the moment I heard them introduced into their reception via the song "Big Poppa" by the Notorious B.I.G. (a humorous riff on their last name), that we were in for quite the night.
Kim and Matt's reception was everything I could have asked for and more.
With the beautiful location out in the middle of nowhere, and many of their guests staying on the grounds of the property for the night anyway, there was no reason for Matt and Kim to hold back and they didn't.
This bride and groom waited 14 years for this party and they made every minute of that wait worth it.
What a night.
I loved Kim and Matt's reception and it was almost exclusively because of the bride and groom themselves.
I don't know if there was a moment where Kim wasn't on the dance floor with a beer (or donut) in her hands or her arms in the air dancing something fierce. And when Matt wasn't interacting with guests, he caught me completely off guard with how loose and relaxed he was, jumping in the air like a wild man to "Jump" from House of Pain and doing splits on the dance floor.
It was a fun time for a fun couple and a night filled with little moments I'm sure they'll both remember for a lifetime.
And what better way to cap off a perfect night than with a sparkler exit and campfire?
To me, it was the perfect cap to a perfect night for a perfect couple.
So, congratulations Kim and Matt.
I wish you a future just as bright, if not brighter, than the lights that circled you on that magical August night in West Greenwich.